2014/10/31

This week at Microsoft: Throwing everybody under the bus

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The impression Microsoft is giving this week is almost one of desperation, and of a company willing to do anything to maintain its position at the top of the food chain. First came the surprise showing of the new Microsoft Surface hardware, which looks really nice. Then came a preview of the next big version of Windows Phone that looks compelling. These two previews show that Microsoft is willing to push anybody out of its way.

The Surface tablet announcement caught not only industry watchers by surprise, but also Microsoft’s biggest partners. These companies, HP, Dell, Acer among them, had no real warning that Microsoft was about to compete with them. They are now in direct competition with the company that supplies the OS they use on all of their PCs. The entire PC industry changed with the Surface announcement.

With the Windows Phone 8 preview, MIcrosoft left its partners alone and went after its loyal phone customer base. Buried in the talk of new features, better hardware, and a new start screen, the bombshell was dropped that no existing hardware bought previously or even between now and Windows Phone 8 launch later this year will run Windows Phone 8.

This week at Microsoft: Throwing everybody under the bus

Dell Laptop Batteries

imageAre you looking for a Dell Laptop Battery? Are you looking for a Dell Inspiron 1525 battery. If your answer is yes then you must go to batteryheads.com. This website has all the batteries you will need for your mobile computer at just the right price.

I have always wanted the ability to choose where I get my batteries. As you well know in the past, one would have to go to the original equipment to get the appropriate batteries for you laptop. Well that is yesteryear. You now have options. You now have a choice.

You can actually get batteries at up to 45% off. Now is that a steal or what. Of course the batteries come with a 30 day money back guarantee. These batteries meet all the specifications of you Dell products so you can feel safe that your precious computer will run as if it were a battery purchased directly from the original equipment manufacturer. I have used these types of batteries for years an have been very happy with them.

Copper.net Is Great

imageAre you looking for inexpensive but effective dsl or any other internet service. Remember that dial up is still an option worth looking at. Especially when service begins at $9.95.

After leaving college I remember then getting a 1200 baud modem. Wow was that fast. At that point we thought things could not get any better or any faster. Of course I then got a 2400 baud modem. We surely could not get any faster. Of course I then got the 56K modem. I stopped making predictions other than dial up will remain viable.

Dial up today is not the dial up of previous years. I remember when I went to college I use to have to go to the computer center to submit my Fortran programs on punch cards. I am a slow typist so it took me forever to write a 500 line Fortran program.

I also remember the first time I dropped a box of the cards. The problem was I did not have the cards numbers so they were all out of order and I had to restart the entire process.

I was happy when Radio Shack come out with the color computer. I purchased one and then bought a 300 baud modem. Wow, in those days 300 baud seemed extremely fast. I also remember the simple word editor it came with. I used this to write my Basic programs going forward. I no longer had to worry about punch cards. I no longer had to worry about dropping my box of cards and having to rebuild them.

Richard Clarke: China has hacked every major US company | ZDNet

 

Richard Clarke: China has hacked every major US company

By Emil Protalinski | March 27, 2012, 1:04pm PDT

Summary: Cybersecurity advisor Richard Clarke is warning the U.S. that its major companies are being regularly infiltrated by Chinese hackers employed by the Chinese government to steal R&D.

imageRichard Clarke, a former cybersecurity and cyberterrorism advisor for the White House, was a U.S. government employee for 30 years: between 1973 and 2003. He worked during the times of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and even George W. Bush. He may not be working under current U.S. president Barack Obama, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have something to warning about. He says state-sanctioned Chinese hackers are stealing R&D from U.S. companies, threatening the long-term competitiveness of America. We’ve heard this before, but the way Clarke puts it makes the situation look even more dire.

“I’m about to say something that people think is an exaggeration, but I think the evidence is pretty strong,” Clarke said during an interview with the Smithsonian. “Every major company in the United States has already been penetrated by China. My greatest fear is that, rather than having a cyber-Pearl Harbor event, we will instead have this death of a thousand cuts. Where we lose our competitiveness by having all of our research and development stolen by the Chinese. And we never really see the single event that makes us do something about it. That it’s always just below our pain threshold. That company after company in the United States spends millions, hundreds of millions, in some cases billions of dollars on R&D and that information goes free to China….After a while you can’t compete.”

Clarke notes that while the U.S. government is involved in espionage against other governments, it doesn’t hack Chinese companies and then hand over intelligence to their American counterparts. He argues that the same cannot be said for the Chinese government.

Richard Clarke: China has hacked every major US company | ZDNet

Apple, Facebook, Path, Twitter, others face class action lawsuit | ZDNet

 

Apple, Facebook, Path, Twitter, others face class action lawsuit

By Emil Protalinski | March 21, 2012, 10:51am PDT

imageSummary: Apple, Beluga, Burbn, Chillingo, Electronic Arts, Facebook, Foodspotting, Foursquare Labs, Gowalla, Hipster, Instagram, Kik, LinkedIn, Path, Rovio Mobile, Twitter, Yelp, and ZeptoLab UK are being sued.

Last week, 13 individuals targeted 18 mobile app makers accused of automatically uploading user address books without permission with a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas. The suit, which seeks class action status, has the following defendants: Apple, Beluga, Burbn, Chillingo, Electronic Arts, Facebook, Foodspotting, Foursquare Labs, Gowalla, Hipster, Instagram, Kik Hipster, LinkedIn, Path, Rovio Mobile, Twitter, Yelp, and ZeptoLab UK.

Here’s an excerpt from the lawsuit:

Literally billions of contacts from the address books of tens of millions of unsuspecting wireless mobile device owners have now been accessed and stolen. The surreptitious data uploads—occurring over both cellular networks and open, public wireless access nodes in homes, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, stores and businesses all across the nation—have, quite literally, turned the address book owners’ wireless mobile devices into mobile radio beacons broadcasting and publicly exposing the unsuspecting device owner’s address book data to the world.

Interestingly, even if Facebook’s own apps aren’t doing anything wrong, the company still has to worry about Beluga and Gowalla, both which it acquired last year:

On information and belief, Facebook has acquired the companies that formerly owned the Gowalla App (i.e., Defendant Gowalla Incorporated) and the Beluga App and/or those companies’

Apple, Facebook, Path, Twitter, others face class action lawsuit | ZDNet

Direct SAT TV

imageGovernment dish rules are now very lenient. The communications act ensured that you could have them just about anywhere. In that light it you can have direct tv anywhere.

Installing satellites systems on your own, you may want to consider getting advice from local installers in your neighborhood. This is usually not hard to find as they are usually in the white pages of your phone book.

After you decide to do it yourself, the next step is to find the equipment that you will be using. Most services include the equipment that you will be using so most times you simply need to find the company that you will use to provide the service. A company like dx3 direct tv is a good choice.

You can get ample sports packages and any other package you may need. the dx3 will give you any possible choice you may want. Give them a try. You will surely not be disappointed.

I am convinced that the best bang for your buck is using a satellite system. Many investments are being made in improving the capacity of these birds that will continue enhancing the high definition capabilities. Much better service is forthcoming that will prove its capabilities.

New iPad pre-order delivery date slips | ZDNet UK

 

imageCustomers pre-ordering the new iPad will have to wait up to three weeks to receive the tablet device even though it will be on sale in-store on Friday, according to the company’s website.

The device was announced on Wednesday and is due to go on sale from Apple’s retail stores on Friday 16 March. However, the ordering process on the company’s online store in the UK and US says that pre-ordered iPads will be dispatched in "2-3 weeks".
A spokesman for Apple said that demand for the retina display-equipped device had been "off the charts", forcing it to make the change to the expected delivery dates.
The cheapest Wi-Fi only 16GB model new iPad costs £399, whereas opting for a top of the range, 64GB Wi-Fi + ‘4G’ model will set UK customers back £659.
The lightly refreshed device adds a higher resolution display, quad-core graphics processor, and faster data network capabilities in comparison to the iPad 2. However, it is also slightly heavier and slightly thicker than its predecessor.

New iPad pre-order delivery date slips | ZDNet UK

Meet Apple’s new iPad, now with a Retina Display | ZDNet

 

Meet Apple’s new iPad, now with a Retina Display

By Rachel King | March 7, 2012, 10:47am PST

imageSummary: Given all of the hype surrounding new Apple products, there are inevitably high expectations for the newest iPad.

Everyone knew it was coming, and here it is: the new iPad.

See also: CNET: Live blogging today’s event
Live Webcast: Let’s talk iPad
New Apple TV announced at iPad event
Apple display spending to double in 2012: report

CEO Tim Cook introduced the newest, 1.4-pound iPad at a special media, invite-only event in San Francisco on Wednesday morning, hailing it as the next step in the “post-PC revolution.”

“In many ways the iPad is reinventing portable computing, and it’s outstripping the wildest of predictions,” Cook told audience-goers, adding that Apple sold 172 million post-PC devices in 2011 alone.

Ever since the unveiling of the iPad 2 last March, rumors have been swirling everywhere as to what the third-generation of the iOS-based tablet would look like. One of the most recent rumors was that the iPad 3 would actually be referred to as the iPad HD.

Yet, it looks like Apple is actually only going to refer to the third-generation as simply “the new iPad” for the time being.

Also as expected, Apple is finally bringing its Retina Display technology (as seen on the iPhone 4 and 4S) to the 9.7 inch screen of the iPad. That includes a 2048 x 1536 resolution with 3.1 million pixels.

Additional hot specs include the A5X quad-core processor, touted as twice as fast and four times better performance than Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chip.

Apple developers also stepped up the camera features and abilities considerably from the iPad 2. For starters, the rear camera is now an iSight camera with 5-megapixel, illuminated sensor with a 5-element lens, face detection and IR filter. Another touch of HD on this tablet is the addition of 1080p HD video recording.

Meet Apple’s new iPad, now with a Retina Display | ZDNet

Apple announces iPad event, March 7 | ZDNet

 

Apple announces iPad event, March 7

By Zack Whittaker | February 28, 2012, 9:36am PST

Summary: Apple has said it will hold an event on March 7th — a little over a week from now — to announce the next-generation iPad tablet.

imageFinally. We now know something about the next-generation iPad for sure. It will be announced in just over a week’s time on March 7th.

The company remained tight-lipped over the announcement, indicating very little besides the date of the event.

As per previous invitations, little is given away by the invitation itself. What is seen, however, appears to be a high-resolution display.

CNBC this morning tweeted that the upcoming device would be quad-core and boast a high-speed 4G LTE chip. However, the logistics of doing so would require a far greater battery than is currently in the iPad 2. It also contradicts well-connected AllThingsD, a stable source of Apple news, and many others too.

It also claimed the event would be held in New York, rather than San Francisco. An Apple spokesperson confirmed that the event will be held in San Francisco.

Related:

Apple announces iPad event, March 7 | ZDNet

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Ancient Computers in Use Today | PCWorld

 

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Ancient Computers in Use Today

From 1970s minicomputers used for military programs (including nuclear weapons) to an IBM punch-card system still keeping the books at a Texas filter supplier, these are the computers that time forgot.

By Benj Edwards, PCWorld    Feb 19, 2012 8:00 pm

It’s easy to wax nostalgic about old technology–to remember fondly our first Apple IIe or marvel at the old mainframes that ran on punched cards. But no one in their right mind would use those outdated, underpowered dinosaurs to run a contemporary business, let alone a modern weapons system, right?

Wrong!

While much of the tech world views a two-year-old smartphone as hopelessly obsolete, large swaths of our transportation and military infrastructure, some modern businesses, and even a few computer programmers rely daily on technology that hasn’t been updated for decades.

If you’ve recently bought a MetroCard for the New York City Subway or taken money from certain older ATMs, for instance, your transaction was made possible by IBM’s OS/2, an operating system that debuted 25 years ago and faded out soon after.

A recent federal review found that the U.S. Secret Service uses a mainframe computer system from the 1980s. That system apparently works only 60 percent of the time. Here’s hoping that uptime statistics are better for the ancient minicomputers used by the U.S. Department of Defense for the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system, Navy submarines, fighter jets, and other weapons programs. Those systems, according to the consultants who help keep them going, will likely be used until at least the middle of this century.

Here are a few stories of the computers that time forgot, and the people and institutions that stubbornly hold on to them.

Punch-Card Accounting

imageSparkler Filters of Conroe, Texas, prides itself on being a leader in the world of chemical process filtration. If you buy an automatic nutsche filter from them, though, they’ll enter your transaction on a “computer” that dates from 1948.

Sparkler Filters’ IBM 402, with self-employed field engineer Duwayne Leafley in the foreground. Sparkler’s IBM 402 is not a traditional computer, but an automated electromechanical tabulator that can be programmed (or more accurately, wired) to print out certain results based on values encoded into stacks of 80-column Hollerith-type punched cards.

Companies traditionally used the 402 for accounting, since the machine could take a long list of numbers, add them up, and print a detailed written report. In a sense, you could consider it a 3000-pound spreadsheet machine. That’s exactly how Sparkler Filters uses its IBM 402, which could very well be the last fully operational 402 on the planet. As it has for over half a century, the firm still runs all of its accounting work (payroll, sales, and inventory) through the IBM 402. The machine prints out reports on wide, tractor-fed paper.

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Ancient Computers in Use Today | PCWorld